Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Yes, I took a momentary break from pumpkin things but that is exactly what it was…momentary.  In the weekend preceding my birthday, we had a wonderful ladies movie night at my Aunt/cousin’s house.  It was the perfect kick off to my Birthday week and I was fortunate to not only have some family there, but I also had one of my best friends, DrSio, who drove up all the way from DC which was the best birthday gift ever!

For the occasion, I made those wonderfully delicious Apple Pie Bars and David Lebovitz’s Best Brownies, but I also added another newbie to the mix and made these tasty Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.  The recipe is almost identical to a standard Pumpkin Cheesecake but in the much more party-friendly “bar” form.

I seem to have recently developed an inexplicable fondness to dessert in the bar form, but I guess that is a result of my innate desire to share everything.  Although cookies are easily shareable and delicious, sometimes you need a change and bars become a perfect alternative because you can cut them, display them and did I mention, taste one? This ability to taste your product for bringing it to an event is lost when making cakes and pies because it would be slightly awkward to arrive with a slice missing…yeah, really awkward.  However, when putting cakes, pies and cheesecake in the bar form, you are able to cut them before hand and remove them from their baking pan and sneak in a bite size tasty.  Therefore, you no longer have to hope and pray that your dessert tastes as good as it looks.  Crisis averted.

In summation, expect more dessert bars in the future. Lots more.

Adapted from: Betty Crocker

Ingredients

Crust

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix

1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup cold butter or margarine

Filling
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
Toppings
1/3 cup chocolate topping (optional)
1/3 cup caramel topping (optional)
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2.  In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, crushed cookies and pecans.
3.  Cut in butter, using pastry blender, fork or your hands, until mixture is crumbly.
4.  ***Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping***.
5.  Press remaining mixture in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
6.  In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
7.  Add remaining filling ingredients; beat until well blended.
8.  Pour over warm cookie base. Sprinkle with reserved topping.
9.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.
10.  Before serving, add optional Caramel or Chocolate sauce.  ***I did not use either of these sauces and the bars were still delicious.  I almost feel that they might be too rich with the addition  of these sauces.
11. Cut bars then Share and Enjoy!
These were everything you would expect from the pumpkin and cheesecake combo, simply delicious.  Definitely a great go to recipe for your holiday parties this season!
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